Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Sony has just announced the PlayStation Network PLAY promotion. It's not another online pass, and it's not going to cost you a dime. It will save you money, though. That is, if you're a PlayStation Plus member or if you want to buy all four games in the promotion.
Much like the way Xbox LIVE's Summer of Arcade works, you'll have to buy four PSN PLAY titles to get a fifth one for free. If you're a PlayStation Plus subscriber, it'll be cheaper for you to get them all, since you'll automatically get 20% off the purchase price of each title. If you only want to buy one or two of the titles, you'll still get something extra in the form of a free PS3 theme, but only if you pre-order the game.
Pre-orders kick off on August 9th for the following titles:
August 23: Street Fighter III Third Strike Online Edition – This highly-anticipated action-fighting title from Capcom features 20 playable characters, HD graphics, more than 200 pieces of unlockable content, more than 100 trials and more than 100 challenges. When Street Fighter III Third Strike Online Edition is purchased through PLAY, purchasers will be able to unlock GILL, the self-proclaimed god, without having to beat the game with every character, as day-one DLC. Street Fighter III Third Strike Online Edition will be $14.99 and will be available for pre-order through August 18.
August 30: The Baconing – The latest action-RPG title from Hothead Games features the popular hero, DeathSpank, in an attempt to defeat the Anti-Spank and his army of Cyborques before they cast an evil shadow over Spanktopia. Discover exciting new worlds and battle hordes of enemies as you search to unlock the secret within the Fires of Bacon. When The Baconing is purchased through PLAY, purchasers will receive an additional co-op character, Roesha – One Bad Mutha. The Baconing will be $14.99 and will be available for pre-order through August 25.
September 6: BloodRayne: Betrayal™ – This 2D side-scrolling platformer from Majesco Entertainment features 15 bloodthirsty levels where Rayne attempts to infiltrate a treacherous castle, take out a fiendish horde and stop an evil vampire massacre. When BloodRayne: Betrayal is purchased through PLAY, purchasers will receive a BloodRayne: Betrayal virtual item for their PlayStation®Home avatar and an exclusive dynamic theme. BloodRayne: Betrayal will be $14.99 and will be available for pre-order through September 1.
September 13: Renegade Ops – This top-down, driving shooter from SEGA features a huge variety of vehicles, guns and endless enemies. The game features Sandbox-style missions, so there are many different ways to play. When Renegade Ops is purchased through PLAY, purchasers will receive a Vehicle & Character Pack with two new vehicles and special weapons. Renegade Ops will be $14.99 and will be available for pre-order through September 8.
Bonus Gift: PAYDAY: The Heist – This gritty, first-person shooter from Sony Online Entertainment lets players take on the role of a hardened career criminal executing intense, dynamic heists in constant pursuit of the next "big score". A voucher code for PAYDAY: The Heist will be provided as a bonus gift to players, ages 18 and older, that purchased all four PLAY titles, for redemption when the game releases. The game can also be pre-ordered separately starting September 20, 2011. PAYDAY: The Heist will be $19.99.